Tanzania, Africa travel journal – day 12

categories: Travel

With a very early start (4:30am) and a modified strategy I was able to catch up on my email in less than 3 hours. Also in the 6 hours of internet connectivity I was able to chat with everyone in my family which was even better.

We left the hotel at 9am for the Makumira seminary which is part of the larger Lutheran University between Arusha and the Kilimanjaro airport.

We stopped briefly at the bank and a small grocery store on the way. They had expected us on Monday and it did not seem that our message that we were delayed had made it to everyone involved. The guys are staying in an empty faculty house and the women in the guest house. We met the bursar and had tea and introductions first. We then had a tour from Anne, a German missionary who has been at Makumira for 6 years.

Both she and her husband are pastors. Her husband is in Dar Es Salam this week so we will not meet him. Lunch at the old cafeteria followed lunch. They have opened a new cafeteria within the last week. The campus used to only be a seminary but law, music, and education majors have been added within the last few years and the school is growing rapidly.

After lunch some of us had tea at Anne’s house while we waited for the end of the lunch break at 2:30pm. When I asked Anne the hardest thing to get use to in Tanzania she had to think for a bit. She decided it was learning to deal with authority in Tanzania. She’d worked for someone who may not have known as much as she did so she sometimes thought what she was doing did not make sense, but more of an emphasis is placed on making sure respect is shown to everyone than necessarily getting it “right”. What she would miss is the very open nature of the people. When a friend leaves you need to walk them not just to the door but out to the end of your property or even further. But if you walk over half way to their house them you become the guest and it all has to get repeated over again.

Then we started working at taking out and resetting the windows in the chapel so that screens can be added to all the windows. We made a plan and started the process but the person who should be supervising us had been here on Monday but since we had not shown up had scheduled another job for today. We will meet him on Wednesday where we will see if our plan is anything like his plan. We are feeling a shortage of tools and may make a run to a hardware store tomorrow.

We did not participate in the 4:00pm tea but we also did not find enough to do to the end of the day. So we retired to the guest house and opened the 2 small bottles of wine I had saved from our airplane journey as well as a couple of bottles Pastor Rick had bought while out with Pastor Godbless trying (surprisingly unsuccessfully) to get someone to take 1,000,000 Sh to open a back account. Apparently you have to have a reference from two people with accounts at the bank. No one could provide a reason why. Rick stopped at a Shop Rite supermarket in Arusha. He said it was very odd because only white people were shopping there, mostly safari operators getting ready for trips, and tourists. Rick also treated Godbless to his first latte at a Piggy Bucks in the same shopping complex. He had told them he wanted to pick up coffee but when Godbless saw it was 2000 Sh he wanted to leave immediately because of the cost. He added a lot of sugar to his as that is what they usually do with the instant coffee the locals drink and then commented how sweet it was.

Mary, Susan, Lois and I started a scrabble game but interrupted it for dinner. We were joined by the professor of practical theology (preaching, stewardship, etc) and his wife for dinner. As it turns out, he and Rick had both attended Luther seminary in Saint Paul, MN and had overlapped for one year.

After dinner, we took our scrabble board to Anne’s house which is right next to the guest house. We took turns borrowing her internet connection while the rest played scrabble and chatted. We (me) learned more about Swahili. We also learned that you should stay out of the tall grass at night and carry a torch to keep away from snakes. The 2000 Sh for the latte earlier in the day was most of a day’s wage for Pastor Godbless and he like many if not most Tanzanians has a plot of land where he grows some of his own food. Anne told us not to assume all of Tanzania is like the lush northern part that we have visited. Some parts have had 3 crops fail in a row and all the cattle have died. Even in this area she said the cattle had gotten so thin you could count their ribs before the rainy season came and turned the grass green.

by Chris Christensen

I am the creator of AmateurTraveler.com, a popular travel blog / podcast. I am also a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast, The Bible Study Podcast and the Passport Marketing and PR Podcast. I am the owner of BloggerBridge.com and a software consultant.

Comments are closed.